The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has begun investigating the Yamaha Rhino, a utility terrain vehicle (UTV), following reports of 30 deaths involving the vehicles. Yamaha also faces more than 200 lawsuits in state and federal courts, many of which allege that the Rhino's design is unsafe.
There are currently no regulatory standards for UTVs, which are two-seat vehicles that look like a cross between a golf cart and an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Some plaintiffs' lawyers have alleged that Yamaha failed to report Rhino safety problems to the CPSC as early as it should have. They claim that even riders traveling at slow speeds while wearing seatbelts have experienced accidents, including rollovers, that resulted in serious injuries.
UTVs are not subject to ATV safety standards because of design differences, like having a steering wheel instead of handlebars. Yamaha recommends that operators be at least 16 years old and have a driver's license. Rhinos are used in a variety of ways – for trail hunting, farm chores, and hunting.